Interesting thread. I am very interested in any followup after 2 months. In my quest to restart my audiophileness after a divorce and 3 kids (I'm 61 and own zero vinyl and only 10 CD's for my car) I am going totally digital (Qobuz at 192khz, 96khz and whatever Hi-Res I can find to stream - who needs to buy anymore at $20+ per month for alot of great music). I have an engineering background and respect for designers (I am not a designer) and love classic rock and jazz. I spent $12K+ on Rogue Magnum amp and Vandy Treo Ct speakers. Working on my streamer/DAC parts.
I live in NJ, 5 miles from John Rutan at audioconnect and he has been gracious enough to lend me some streamer+ to try out. I have learned a few things (in no particular order):
1. I think we are at just he start of the "digital revolution"
2. There are a lot of designers working this and 10x+ reviewers with a lot of opinions
3. What sounds better is a function of our individual ears and brain. Its like tasting wine and food (which is easier to describe in words) but still hard.
4. The perfect sweat spot of toe in etc. makes me laugh cause who actually lives sitting in a single chair for hours on end just listening. I am currently sitting to the side of my setup listening to Jeff Beck at 96khz and just keep smiling at the memories.
5. I am now listening to Beck thru Innuos Zen MK3 (streamer) into a Ayre Codex (DAC) and Rogue tube amp and Treo CT speakers and it sounds great (I am also drinking craft IPA's at 1 AM - LOL), anyway...
6. Streamers --- I find that, similar to the 1970's, the "all in one solution" is a trade off. Specialized components are being developed. For instance, a company specializing in streamers (receiving super clean clean square waves of digital ones and zeroes) include a less than DAC and less than power supply and vice versa. This is similar to me how current HIFI components developed.
7. All that rambling aside (most likely 50% wrong), it is a very uncertain time on how I should spend my middle class $$ for a streamer, DAC and the power supply argument. Its like trying to pick out a $75 bottle of wine at the liquor store (beer is cheaper and I found my favorite craft IPA's at $15 a 4 pack), the audio "experts" tell us to go listen. It comes down I suppose to trusting your local HIFI dealer.
8. ANYWAY, I am trying to find the best components to handle Streaming and DAC with real good power supplies at ~$3K. I am currently running Innuos Zen MK3 (loaner - new is $2,600) to a Ayres Codex (used for $1,100). My current targets are Lumin U1 Mini with upgraded SBooster PS at $2,400 and Innuos Zen Mini MK3 with upgraded PS at $1,950. Note that the Innuos includes CD ripping and 1 TB storage (which I don't necessarily need) and the Lumin is supposedly a straight streamer. I would keep my Codex at this point unless otherwise convinced.
Thanks for listening, any advice would be appreciated